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Simplicity is the backbone of the Detours D2R Small Pannier Set, with a no-frills design, idiot-proof attachment system and bomber material; the toughest part is saying "panniers" with a straight face (it's pan-ears, not panny-hers).
Designed for limited cargo and equally at home on front or rear bike racks, the D2R small set is perfect for a quick run to the grocery or light-duty commuting. The 1,200 cubic inch set swallows more gear than appears possible at first glance, but expedition size they are not.
Expedition built quality, however, the D2R panniers seem to be. Made from a fairly thick ripstop nylon, the body of the bag seemed impervious to rips or tears, no matter if the ride requires squeezing against rough brick walls downtown or snag-height tree branches. A heavy rubberized base was a welcome feature that both negates the need for worry that parking lot ooze will absorb in one side while you hook up the other, and also gives the bags a more structured base to make loading easier.
The nylon body of the panniers is water resistant and a high-visibility waterproof cover is included, but isn't necessary unless the weather really takes a turn for the worse. A simple drawstring closure on top combined with the full coverage lid kept groceries dry in medium showers for a short trip home. For bigger tours, riders would be justified in their concern of losing one of the covers and having wet clothes in a deluge, though, as the elastic enclosure is adequate for around-town, but might not be as secure on a speedy downhill after lots of use.
As far as style is concerned, the flat black construction looks sleek and urban on any bike and strategically placed reflective strips provide some visibility for the otherwise low-key bags. A strap on top made them easy to tote into a store and screamed neither "man purse" nor "hippie bike bag."
Depending on usage, the D2R Small Pannier Set's biggest drawback is right in the name, they're not all that big. A quick jaunt to the market to pick up bread and milk was a perfect-sized task, but getting groceries for the week – or for a family –quickly swamps the 11"x6"x12" dimensions. The 2,125 cubic inch size of the D2R Large (MSRP: $95.00) set could be a better choice if the shopping list exceeds a sticky note or two.
But if the D2R are pulling duty as front panniers on a bigger tour or just bringing a change of clothes and extra pair of shoes to the office, then the small size is a huge asset by being small and light enough – loaded down with anything less than bricks --- to be barely noticeable at all, which is the best kind of cargo. (MSRP $85)
Alex Strickland was born and raised in possibly the least mountainous and outdoorsy city in America – Memphis, Tenn. Despite the lack of trails and people to enjoy them with, he became a hiker, mountain biker and runner. Today, he's traded up for the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and added skiing to the mix, once someone explained what snow was.
A former newspaper editor in small-town Montana, Strickland enjoys freelance writing and photography for publications around the Mountain West and sharing his love for the outdoors through his work.
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